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General Information about Mahrashtra
The N?sik Gazetteer states that in 246 B.C. Maharashtra is mentioned as one of the places to which Asoka sent an embassy, and Mah?rashtraka is recorded in a Ch?lukyan inscription of A.D. 580 as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. The name Maharashtra also appeared in a 7th century inscription and in the account of a Chinese traveler, Hiuen-Tsang. In 90 A.D. Vedishri, son of the Satavahana kingSatakarni, the “Lord of Dakshinapatha, wielder of the unchecked wheel of Sovereignty”, made Junnar, thirty miles north of Pune, the capital of his kingdom. In the early fourteenth century the Devgiri Yadavs were overthrown by the northern Muslim powers. Then on, the region was administered by various kingdoms called Deccan Sultanates.
Pre Medieval history
Not much is known about Maharashtra’s early history, and its recorded history dates back to the 3rd century B.C.E., with the use of Maharashtri Prakrit, one of the Prakrits derived from Sanskrit. Later,[when?] Maharashtra became a part of the Magadha empire, ruled by emperor Ashoka. The port town of Sopara, north of present day Mumbai, was the centre of ancient India’s commerce, with links toEastern Africa, Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin.
} With the disintegration of the Mauryan Empire, a local dynasty called Satavahanascame into prominence in Maharashtra between 230 B.C.E.and 225 C.E.The period saw the biggest cultural development of Maharashtra. The Satavahana’s official language was Maharashtri, which later developed into Marathi. The great ruler Gautamiputra Satkarni(also known as “Shalivahan“) ruled around 78 C.E.He started the Shalivahana era, a new calendar, still used by Maharashtrian populace and as the Indian national calendar. The empire gradually disintegrated in the third century. During (250 C.E.– 525 C.E.),Vidarbha, the eastern region of Maharashtra, came under the rule of Vakatakas. During this period, development of arts, religionand technologyflourished. Later, in 753 C.E., the region was governed by theRashtrakutas, an empire that spread over most of India. In 973 C.E., the Chalukyasof Badamiexpelled the Rashtrakutas, and ruled parts of Maharashtra until 1189 when the region came under the YadavasofDeogiri.
Maharashtra came under Islamic influence for the first time after the Delhi Sultanate rulers Ala-ud-din Khalji, and later Muhammad bin Tughluqconquered parts of the Deccan in the 13th century. After the collapse of the Tughlaqs in 1347, the Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga took over, governing the region for the next 150 years. After the breakup of the Bahamani sultanate, in 1518, Maharashtra was ruled by the breakaway in to 5 Shah’s, namely Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Kutubshah of Govalkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Berar.
By the early seventeenth century, the Maratha Empire began to take root. Shahaji Bhosale, an ambitious local general in the employ of the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur, at various times attempted to establish his independent rule. The attempts succeeded through his son Shivaji Bhosale. Marathas were led by Chhattrapati Shivaji Raje Bhonsle, who was crowned king in 1664. Shivaji constantly battled with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and Adil Shah of Bijapur. By the time of his death in 1680, Shivaji had created a kingdom covering most of Maharashtra today (except the Aurangabad district which was part of the Nizam’s territory) and Gujarat.
Rajaram’s nephew & Sambhaji’s son, Shahu Bhosale declared himself to be the legitimate heir to the Bhosale throne. In 1714, Shahu’s Peshwa(chief minister) Balaji Vishwanath, helped him seize the Maratha throne in 1708, with some acrimony from Rajaram’s widow, Tara Bai.
British Rule and Post-Independence
With the arrival and subsequent involvement of the British East India Company in Indian politics, the Marathas and the British fought the three Anglo-Maratha wars between 1777 and 1818, culminating in the annexation of Peshwa-ruled territory in Maharashtra in 1819, which heralded the end of the Maratha empire.
The British governed the region as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to most of the northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining local autonomy in return for acknowledging British sovereignty. The largest princely states in the territory of present-day Maharashtra were Nagpur, Satara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to Bombay Presidency in 1848, and Nagpur was annexed in 1853 to become Nagpur Province, later part of the Central Provinces. Berar, which had been part of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the Central Provinces in 1903. A large part of present day Maharashtra calledMarathwada remained part of the Nizam’s Hyderabad state during British rule. The British rule was marked by social reforms and an improvement in infrastructure as well as revolts due to their discriminatory policies. At the beginning of the 20th century, the struggle for independence took shape led by Bal Gangadhar Tilakand the moderates like Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji. In 1942, the Quit India Movement was called by Mahatma Gandhi which was marked by a non-violent civil disobedience movement and strikes.
After India’s independence in 1947, the princely states were integrated into the Indian Union, and the Deccan States including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Actreorganized the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada (Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region (Amravati and Nagpur divisions) from Madhya Pradesh (formerly the Central Provinces and Berar). On May 1, 1960, Maharashtra came into existence when Bombay Presidency State was split into the new linguistic states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 km² (119,000 mi²), and is the third largest state in India. It is bordered by the states of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, Karnataka to the south, and Goa to the southwest. The state of Gujarat lies to the northwest, with the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli sandwiched in between. The Arabian Sea makes up Maharashtra’s west coast.
The Western Ghats better known as Sahyadri, are a hilly range running parallel to the coast, at an average elevation of 1,200 metres (4,000 ft). Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris is the highest elevated point in Maharashtra. To the west of these hills lie the Konkan coastal plains, 50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the Ghats lies the flat Deccan Plateau. The Western Ghats form one of the three watersheds ofIndia, from which many South Indian rivers originate, notable among them being Godavari River, and Krishna, which flow eastward into the Bay of Bengal, forming one of the greatest river basins in India.
The Ghats are also the source of numerous small rivers which flow westwards, emptying into the Arabian Sea. To the east are major rivers like Vainganga, which flow to the south and eventually into the Bay of Bengal.
There are many multi-state irrigation projects in development, including Godavari River Basin Irrigation Projects. The plateau is composed of black basalt soil, rich in humus. This soil is well suited for cultivating cotton, and hence is often called black cotton soil.
Western Maharashtra, which includes the districts of Nashik, Ahmadnagar, Pune, Satara, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur, is a prosperous belt famous for its sugar factories. Farmers in the region are economically well off due to fertile land and good irrigation.
|Maharashtra state symbols|
|Animal||Shekru (a large squirrel)|
|Bird||Green neck pigeons|
|Song||Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha|
|Year||Gross Domestic Product (millions of INR)|
Favourable economic policies in the 1970s led to Maharashtra becoming India’s leading industrial state in the last quarter of 20th century. Over 41% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Maharashtra. However, regions within Maharashtra show wide disparity in development. Mumbai, Pune and western Maharashtra are the most advanced. These areas also dominate the politics and bureaucracy of the state. This has led to resentment among backward regions like Vidarbha, Marathwada, and Konkan. Maharashtra’s gross state domestic product for 2008 is forecast to be at $150 billion at current market prices. The state’s debt was estimated at 36 per cent of GDP in 2005.
Maharashtra’s is India’s leading industrial state contributing 15% of national industrial output. 64.14% of the people are employed in agriculture and allied activities. Almost 46% of the GSDP is contributed by industry. Major industries in Maharashtra include chemical and allied products, electrical and non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum and allied products. Other important industries include metal products, wine, jewellery, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, machine tools, steel and iron castings and plastic wares. Food crops include mangoes, grapes, bananas,oranges, wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, and pulses. Cash crops include groundnut, cotton, sugarcane,turmeric, and tobacco. The net irrigated area totals 33,500 square kilometres.
Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra and the business capital of India, houses the headquarters of almost all major banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and mutual funds in India. India’s largest stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange, the oldest in Asia, is also located in the city. After successes in the information technology in the neighboring states, Maharashtra has set up software parks in Pune,Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Nasik, Now Maharashtra is the second largest exporter of software with annual exports of Rs 18 000cr (20% of India’s software exports).
The coast of Maharashtra has been a ship-building center for many centuries. The expertise and the manpower available in the local area make this business more attractive.This is reflected by the number of companies operating shipyards in the state such as Bharati Shipyard at Ratnagiri and the upcoming Rajapur Shipyards at Rajapur, apart from the state owned Mazagon Dock Limited at Mumbai.
Maharashtra ranks first nationwide in coal-based thermal electricity as well as nuclear electricity generation with national market shares of over 13% and 17% respectively. Maharashtra is also introducing Jatropha cultivation and has started a project for the identification of suitable sites for Jatropha plantations.
Like all states in India, the nominal head of state is the governor, appointed by the Union Government. The Governor’s post is largely ceremonial. The Chief Minister is the head of government and is vested with most of the executive powers. Maharashtra’s legislature is bicameral, one of the few states in India to have a bicameral type. The Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) is the lower house consisting of directly elected members. The Chief Minister is chosen by the members of the Vidhan Sabha. The Vidhan Parishad(Legislative Council) is the upper house, whose members are indirectly voted through an electoral college. Maharashtra is allocated nineteen seats in the Rajya Sabha and forty-eight in the Lok Sabha, India’s national parliament.
The capital city Mumbai is home to the Vidhan Sabha – the state assembly and Mantralaya, the administrative offices of the government. It is also home to the Bombay High Court which has jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Goa, and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu. The legislature convenes its budget and monsoon sessions in Mumbai, and the winter session in Nagpur, which was designated as the state’s auxiliary capital.
After India’s independence, most of Maharashtra’s political history was dominated by the Congress party. Maharashtra became a bastion of the Congress party producing stalwarts such as Y.B. Chavan, one of its most prominent Chief Ministers. The party enjoyed near unchallenged dominance of the political landscape until 1995 when the right wing Shiv Sena and BJP secured an overwhelming majority in the state to form a coalition. After a split in the Congress party, former chief minister Sharad Pawarformed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), but formed a coalition with the Congress to keep out the BJP-SS combine. The 2004 elections saw the NCP gaining the largest number of seats to become the state’s largest party, eroding much of the Shiv Sena’s base. Under a pre-poll power sharing agreement, the Chief Minister would be from the Congress while the deputy Chief Minister would be from the NCP. Ashok Chavanis the current Chief Minister and Chhagan Bhujbal is the Deputy Chief Minister.
Revenues of Government
This is a chart of trend of own tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) of the Government of Maharashtra assessed by the Finance Commissions from time to time with figures in millions of Indian Rupees.
|Year||Own Tax Revenues|
This is a chart of trend of own non-tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) of the Government of Maharashtra assessed by the Finance Commissions from time to time with figures in millions of Indian Rupees.
|Year||Own Non-tax Revenues|
As per the 2001 census, Maharashtra has a population of 96,752,247 inhabitants making it the second most populous state in India, and the second most populous country subdivision in existence, and third ever after theRussian SFSR of the former Soviet Union. The Marathi-speaking population of Maharashtra numbers 62,481,681 according to the 2001 census. This is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the state. Only eleven countries of the world have a population greater than Maharashtra. Its density is 322.5 inhabitants per square kilometre. Males constitute 50.3 million and females, 46.4 million. Maharashtra’s urban population stands at 42.4%. Its sex ratio is 922 females to 1000 males. 77.27% of its population is literate, broken into 86.2% males and 67.5% females. Its growth rate between 1991–2001 was pegged at 22.57%.
Marathi is the official state language. In Mumbai and suburban areas, apart from the native Marathi, English, Hindi and other languages are also spoken. In the northwest portion of Maharashtra, a dialect Ahirani is spoken by a minority. In south Konkan, a dialect known as Malvani is spoken by most of the people. In the Desh (inland) region of the Deccan, a dialect called Deshi is spoken, while in Vidarbha, a dialect known as Varhadi is spoken by most of the people.
The Total Fertility Rate in 2001 was 2.23. Caste Hindus – 2.09, Muslims – 2.49, Christians – 1.41, Jains – 1.41, Sikh – 1.57, Buddhist – 2.24, Others -2.25, Tribals – 3.14 and Dalits of all religions – 2.42 (Hindu Dalits had higher TFR compared to Buddhist Dalits).
There were several other Harijan saints of Maharastra. They are Sant Banka Mahar, Sant Bhagu, Sant Damaji panth, Sant Kanhopatra, Sant Karmamelam, Sant Nirmala, Sant Sadna, Sant Sakhubai, Sant Satyakam Jabali, Sant Soyarabai. Other important devotees are Namdev Mahar, devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba, lived in Kharagpur and Bhagubai, the wife of Namdev Mahar, devotee of Sai.
Lord Shiva’s devotion is celebrated by taking part in Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) festival. In modern times, the Elephanta island in Mumbai, Lord’s Shiva island in local mythology, originated the Elephant Festival. Lord Krishna’s devotion are celebrated in the state-wide Gokul Ashtami (or Krishna Janmashtami, Krishna’s birthday) whereby many devotees fast on the entire day until midnight. Lord Ganesh’s devotion is celebrated by Ganesh Chaturthi (Ganesh’s birthday) in August.
The Marathi people are the majority throughout most of the state.
Marathi is the official state language.
As per 2001 census Marathi is spoken by 68.89 % of people. Other languages which are spoken by more than one percent of the people are as follows
|Language||Percentage in state|
|Non- Scheduled Languages||4.60|
Maharashtra is divided into thirty-five districts, which are grouped into seven divisions: Aurangabad Division,Amravati Division, Konkan Division, Nagpur Division, Nashik Division, Pune Division, and Nanded Division. These are official revenue divisions of government of Maharashtra.
Geographically, historically and according to political sentiments Maharashtra has five main regions:Vidarbha or Berar (Nagpur and Amravati divisions), Marathwada (Aurangabad Division), Khandesh and Northern Maharashtra (Nashik Division), Desh or Western Maharashtra (Pune Division), and Konkan (Konkan Division).
Maharashtra has of the highest level of urbanisation of all Indian states. The mountainous topography and soil are not as suitable for intensive agriculture as the plains of North India; therefore, the proportion of the urban population (42.4 per cent) contrasts starkly with the national averageveloping metro and many large towns. Mumbai is the state capital with a population of approximately 15.2 million people. The other large cities are Pune, Nasik, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nagpur.
- Mumbai: Mumbai is the financial and commercial capital of India and is the megapolis capital of Maharashtra. It has the largest proportion of taxpayers in India and its share markets transact almost 70 per cent of the country’s stocks. It offers a lifestyle that is rich, cosmopolitan and diverse, with a variety of food, entertainment and nightlife. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai is the biggest and the busiest airport in India. The city is India’s link to the world of telecommunications and the Internet. VSNL (Now Tata Communications Limited) is the terminal point in India for all telephone and internet traffic. Mumbai is India’s flagship port destination. It is also home to the Indian Navy’s Western Command (INS).
- Pune: Pune, the second largest city in Maharashtra and the eighth largest in India, is the state’s cultural and heritage capital with a population of 4.5 million people. About 170 km from Mumbai by road, Pune was the bastion of the Maratha empire. Under the reign of the Peshwas, Pune blossomed into a centre of art and learning. Several far reaching revenue and judicial reforms were also initiated in the city. Shaniwarwada, Saras baug, Aga Khan Palace, Parvati Temple, Khadakwasla Dam, Sinhgad are the most visited places by tourists in Pune. ‘Ganeshotsav’, a festival of Lord Ganesh is celebrated in Pune with lot of enthusiasm and worship. Pune is connected to Mumbai by the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Pune also has very important military cantonments as well as the HQ of the Southern Command, the National Defence Academy, the AFMC, CME, and the IAF base at Lohegaon too. Pune is a major Information Technologyhub of India as well as a foremost destination for Automobile manufacturing and component industryCity.
- Nashik: One of the holy cities of the Hindu tradition, Nashik lies on the banks of the sacred river Godavari and has a population of about 1.6 million people. It is believed that Lord Rama, hero of the great Indian epic, the Ramayana, spent a major part of his exile here. Nashik is also a temple town, with over 200 temples.Nashik today is rapidly developing in ITs, industries, Pharmaceuticals and westernisation. It is also famous for its pleasant and cool climate. Nashik is also an educational hub. It is well connected to all cities of Maharashtra by road,rail and air. The artillery centre at Devlali in Nashik is well famous. Nashik also holds the Kumbhmela in 12 years once. Someshwar, Bhandardara, Shirdi, Kalaram Temple, Ramkund, Sita Gufa, Sapthsringi Gad and Ganagapur Dam are the tourist places near Nashik.
Trimbakeshwar or Tryambakeshwar or Trambakeshwar is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Trimbak, in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, India, 28 km from the city of Nashik GPS Reference 20.021944 N, 73.729935 E . It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingaas. Nashik is the cleanest city in Maharashtra.
- Navi Mumbai: It is a modern planned city with many Industries around, a new railway terminus, an international airport being constructed here. It was initially developed in the 1970s as a counter magnet to reduce urban congestion on Mumbai island. Navi Mumbai is connected to Mumbai at Vashi and Airoli nodes by rail and road by two massive bridges on the Thane creek. It has a good Highway network. Town planning is done by the Government of Maharashtra agency named CIDCO. With so many industries in Navi Mumbai today Navi Mumbai acts as a back bone in the Mumbai metropolitan area.
- Thane: Thane is a city adjoining Mumbai on the Salsette Island, packed with Mulund in Mumbai on the north east and Thane creek and the Ulhas river on the south. Its a city with a population of 1.5 million people and is one of the most developed as well as most urbanized cities in Maharashtra and India. It is the administrative headquarters of the Thane district. Thane is a major industrial and commercial city with the first industrial estate in Maharashtra the TTC area being established here in the 1960s. Thane is a predominantly Middle class, Marathi speaking and a culturally rich city. The first railway in India ran between Mumbai and Thane in 1853. Thane is also known as the city of Lakes as well as one of the cleanest cities in India.
- Nagpur: The erstwhile capital of the CP & Berar and after independence the capital of Madhya Pradesh till 1956. Nagpur is the nerve centre of Vidarbha (eastern Maharashtra), Nagpur – the ‘orange city’ as it is known – is located in the heart of India, with a population of about 2.4 million people (2.1 Million as per census 2001). It is also second administrative capital of Maharashtra. Nagpur is a growing industrial centre and the home of several industries, ranging from food products and chemicals to electrical and transports equipment. An international cargo airport is coming up in Nagpur. The Maintenance Command of Indian Air Force is located in Nagpur. The ” Zero Mile Stone” or the geographical centre of India is located in Nagpur. Deekshabhoomi, Sitabardi Fort, Ambazari, Seminary Hills, Dragon Palace Temple, Pench National Park are some of the tourist attractions in and around Nagpur.
- Aurangabad: The tourist capital of Maharashtra of more than 1.1 million, it is an up-and-coming industrial hub of Maharashtra after Pune and Mumbai. Aurangabad is the capital of Marathwada. It is growing rapidly as many projects are coming to Aurangabad. It is also known as the Beer Capital of India and ranked in fastest growing cities in the World as many Industrial, IT-Software, Pharmaceutical, Hospitality, Entertainment, Educational projects are being initiated in the city.
- Ahmednagar: Historic city of Maharashtra. 110 km from Pune & Aurangabad & Located Centrally in Maharashtra. Also Located within the productive, irrigated agricultural region of Sugarcane Belt. Asia’s first co-operative sugar Factory was started at Pravaranagar by Padmashri Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil (Founder Of Co-operative Movement). First Prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was jailed by the British in Ahmednagar fort for three years (1942-1945), where he wrote “Discovery Of India”. The land is mainly blessed by Holy Temples of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba & Lord Shani Dev of Shani Shingnapur.
- Amravati: Amravati (also known as Amrawati or Amraoti) is a city of the population nearly 9,00,000 in the state of Maharashtra in India. It is believed to be the city of lord Indra, the king of all gods. It has historical temples of Goddess Ambadevi,Goddess Ekviradevi and Mahanubhava’s Lord ShriKrishna Temple.
- Jalgaon: Jalgaon (?????) is a city in western India, to the north of the Maharashtra state in Jalgaon District, which itself is located on the northern Deccan Plateau. Located within the productive, irrigated agricultural region of Khandesh, Jalgaon is a municipal corporation. Formerly part of territory controlled by the Holkar family of Maratha rulers, Jalgaon became part of British India’s Bombay Presidency in 1818 and part of independent India in 1947. Jalgaon is also the hometown of the Smt. Pratibha Patil, President of India.
- Solapur: A workers place of Maharshtra of more than 1.6 million,It is growing rapidly as many projects are coming to Solapur.
- Sangli: The ‘Turmeric city of India’ is the largest trade centre for turmeric in the country. Situated on the banks of river [Krishna], Sangli-Miraj twin cities form the largest urban agglomeration in South Maharashtra. Sangli is famous for its grapes and wine park. Miraj is known for Indian classical musical instruments exported all over the world. Ganapati Temple of Sangli and its Ganesh Festival attract tourists from all over India. Sangli houses some renowned engineering and medical institutions. Sangli is now coming up as a major wind power generation hub. Sangli is well known for its sugar factories and dairy farms.
- Kolhapur: Kolhapur city situated in the south west corner of Maharashtra, India. It is situated on the banks of river Panchganga and provides the location for the Mahalakshmi Temple. The city has strong cultural identity and lends its name to many common terms like Kolhapuri Chappal , Kolhapuri lavangi mirchi, Kolhapuri gur and Kolhapuri cuisine.
Kolhapur is also known as Kalapur for being home for artists (painters, singers, Marathi cinema etc). also kolhapur is known as kusthigiranchi pandehri (Motherland of wrestlers) (Marathi: ????????????? ?????)
The Indian Railways covers most of the Maharashtra and is the preferred mode of transport over long distances. Almost the entire state comes under the Central Railways branch which is headquartered in Mumbai. Most of the coast south of Mumbai comes under the Konkan Railway. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses, popularly called ST or MSRTC, link most of the towns and villages and have a large network of operation. These buses, run by the state government are the preferred mode of transport for much of its populace. In addition to the government run buses, private run luxury buses are also a popular mode of transport between major towns.
Mumbai has the biggest international airport in India with another coming up at Navi Mumbai. Pune has a civilian enclave international airport with flights to Dubai and Singapore, with plans on for a brand new greenfield International Airport. Aurangabad airport has recently been upgraded to an international airport with flights connecting to Jeddah. Other large cities such as Nagpur and Nashik are served by domestic airlines. Ferry services also operate near Mumbai, linking the city to neighbouring coastal towns. Other modes of public transport, such as a seven-seater tempo have gained popularity in semi-urban areas. Maharashtra has a large highway network and built the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the firstcontrolled-access toll road project in India. Maharashtra has three major ports at Mumbai (operated by the Mumbai Port Trust), the JNPT lying across the Mumbai harbour in Nhava Sheva, and in Ratnagiri, which handles the export of ores mined in the Maharastra hinterland.
Marathi is the language of Maharashtrians. Maharashtrians take great pride in their language and history, particularly the Maratha Empire, its founder Shivaji is considered a folk hero across India. About 80% of Maharashtrians are Hindu, and there are significant Muslim, Christianand Buddhist minorities. There are many temples in Maharashtra some of them being hundreds of years old. These temples are constructed in a fusion of architectural styles borrowed from North and South India. The temples also blend themes from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cultures. A National Geographic edition reads, “The flow between faiths was such that for hundreds of years, almost all Buddhist temples, including the ones at Ajanta, were built under the rule and patronage of Hindu kings.” The temple of Vitthal atPandharpur is the most important temple for the Varkari sect. Other important religious places are theAshtavinayaka temples of Lord Ganesha, Bhimashankar which is one of the Jyotirling (12 important shiva temples). Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad as well as Elephanta Caves near Mumbai are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous tourist attractions. Mughal architecture can be seen is the tomb of the wife of Aurangzeb called Bibi Ka Maqbara located at Aurangabad.
In 1708, the year following the death of Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs came over to Nanded, his permanent abode. He proclaimed himself the last living Guru and established the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. This elevates the reverence of Granth to that of a living Guru. A monument has been constructed at place where he breathed his last. Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s endowment saw the construction of a beautiful Gurudwara at Nanded around 1835 AD. The Gurudwara features an imposing golden dome with intricate carvings and a breathtakingly beautiful artwork. It is known as Shri Huzur Abchalnagar Sachkhand Gurudwara
Maharashtra has a large number of hill, land and sea forts. Forts have played an important role in the history of Maharashtra since the time of the Peshwas. Some of the important forts in Maharashtra are Raigad, Vijaydurg, Pratapgad, Sinhagad. Majority of the forts in Maharashtra are found along the coastal region of Konkan.
Maharashtra, like other states of India, has its own folk music. The folk music viz. Gondhal Lavani, Bharud and Powada are popular especially in rural areas, while the common forms of music from the Hindi andMarathi film industry are favoured in urban areas.
The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Jnyaneshwar with his Bhawarthadeepika (popularly known as Jnyaneshwari). The compositions written during this period are spiritually inclined. The other compositions are by Sant Tukaram, Sant Namdev, and Sant Gora Kumbhar. The compositions are mostly in poetic form, which are called bhajans. These bhajans by saints are popular and part of day to day life. The modern Marathi literature has been enriched by famous poets and authors like P. L. Deshpande,Kusumagraj, Prahlad Keshav Atre and Vyankatesh Madgulkar. This literature has been passed on to the next generations through the medium of large numbers of books that are published every year in Marathi.
The world famous film industry Bollywood is in Maharashtra, located in the economic capital of India, Mumbai. The Marathi film industry was once placed in Kolhapur but now is spread out through Mumbai too. The pioneer of Indian movie industry, Bharat Ratna Shri Dadasaheb Phalke, producer & director V. Shantaram, B.R. Chopra, Shakti Samanta, Raj Kapoor, form a few names of the Hindi film fraternity, while writer, director, and actor P. L. Deshpande, actor Ashok Saraf, actor Laxmikant Berde, actor & producer, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Mahesh Kothare belong to the Marathi film industry. The early period of Marathi theatre was dominated by playwrights like Kolhatkar, Khadilkar, Deval, Gadkari andKirloskar who enriched the Marathi theatre for about half a century with excellent musical plays known as Sangeet Naatak. The genre of music used in such plays is known as Natyasangeet. It is during this era of the Marathi theatre that great singer-actors like Bal Gandharva, Keshavrao Bhosle, Bhaurao Kolhatkar and Deenanath Mangeshkar thrived.
Some of the popular Marathi television channels are Star Majha, Zee Talkies, Zee Chovis Taas, Mi Marathi, DD Sahyadri, Zee Marathi, ETV Marathi, and Saam Marathi which host shows ranging from soap operas, cooking and travel to political satire and game shows.
The cuisine of Maharashtra varies according to the region of Maharashtra. The people of the Konkan region have a chiefly rice based diet with fish being a major component, due the close proximity to the sea. In eastern Maharashtra, the diet is based more on wheat, Jowar and Bajra.Puran Poli (???? ????), Bakarwadi, plain simple Varan Bhat (a dish cooked with plain rice and curry), and Modak are a few dishes to name. Chicken and mutton are also widely used for a variety of cuisines. Kolhapuri Mutton is a dish famous for its peculiar spicy nature.
Women traditionally wear a nine yard or five yard sari and men a dhoti or pajama with a shirt. This, however, is changing with women in urban Maharashtra wearing Punjabi dresses, consisting of a Salwar and a Kurtawhile men wear trousers and a shirt.
The cricket craze can be seen throughout Maharashtra, as it is the most widely followed and played sport.Kabaddi and hockey are also played with fervor. Children’s games include Viti-Dandu (Gilli-danda in Hindi) and Pakada-pakadi (tag).
Hindus in Maharashtra follow the Shalivahana Saka era calendar. Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Rangapanchami,Gokulashtami and Ganeshotsav are some of the festivals that are celebrated in Maharashtra. Ganeshotsavis the biggest festival of Maharashtra which is celebrated with much reverence and festivity throughout the state and has since some time become popular all over the country. The festival which continues over ten days is in honour of Ganesha, the god of learning and knowledge. A large number of people walk hundreds of kilometers to Pandharpur for the annual pilgrimage in the month of Ashadh.
Popularity: 45% [?]